Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education, Dr. Rebecca Tortello, has stressed the need for parents to become more involved in the education of their children.
She said that the Ministry recognises that parents are the first, and in many cases, the most important teachers, and “in order for children to achieve success at school and success in life, we need to have more sustained involvement from our parents and the involvement needs to be both positive and effective”.
Dr. Tortello was speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s Half-Way-Tree Road offices in Kingston, where she disclosed a number of activities and events to observe Parents Month in November.
The activities, she said, which are supported by government ministries and agencies, non-governmental organisations and faith-based institutions, will seek to promote positive family bonding as well as celebrate and educate parents.
Under the theme: ‘Parent the Right Way…Take Responsibility Today,’ the month gets underway with a national church service on Sunday (November 13) at the Bethel United Church in Highgate, St. Mary, starting at 9:30 a.m. Several parenting workshops, seminars and expositions are scheduled to be held across the island.
One highlight of Parent Month is the launch of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Directory of Services for Children, Adults and Families, which provides a list of social services in each parish, where families can access a range of programmes to help them cope with everyday issues and problems. It will be made available to all schools and all entities included in the directory.
The parenting support strategy, centred on the establishment of Parents’ Place centres, will also be officially launched. The centres, seven of which are already in operation, provide a child-friendly meeting space and resources, including reading materials to support parenting.
They are being operated in partnership with civic and community-based organisations and the resources are available to parents free of cost. Dr. Tortello said the plan is to expand the concept to all parishes.
The month of activities culminates with a parenting awards presentation on Friday, December 2 at the RIU Hotel in Ocho Rios, St. Ann starting at 10:00 a.m.